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Design for Fairmont Canopy Walk revealed

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Elevated structure over Waller Creek will be open to the public

The developer of the Fairmont Austin has unveiled the design for an elevated walkway that will connect the hotel to the Austin Convention Center.

The Red River Canopy Walk will undulate 33 feet above the street and the Waller Creek trail to connect the two and will be publicly accessible from both.

Waller Creek Conservancy worked with the developer, Manchester Texas Financial Group, to ensure that the walkway connected with its surrounding environment—the creek in particular—as well as the two buildings. Designed by New York-based Thomas Phifer and Partners, who in conjunction with Michael Van Valkenburgh & Associates won the international competition for the project, it does indeed look to wind through the trees in an organic and interesting manner.

Those groups will join two local firms—landscape architects dwg and Big Red Dog engineering—and the conservancy on the Fairmont project. Developer MTFG has increased the budget for the walkway from an initial $2.8 million to $6 million.

This is the Waller Creek Conservancy’s first collaboration with a developer; the group is creating an ambitious master plan for several miles of Waller Creek that includes revitalizing the landscape and ecosystem as well as connecting other central city parks and ultimately the trail on the south side of the river.

Work on the underground part of the walkway has begun; above-ground work is scheduled to begin in early 2017 and be completed in May.

Upon its expected completion in summer 2017, the Fairmont will be the largest hotel in Austin. The $370 million structure will have more more than 130,000 square feet of meeting, convention, and outdoor space in addition to its 1,048 hotel rooms.